landscaping

Walking between my hotel and the conference center for Colorado's first annual Native Plants in Landscaping Conference yesterday morning, I crossed a large expanse of boring turfgrass lawn, an even larger parking lot, and then a smaller area of closely-mowed grass. As I traversed the mowed area, I looked and listened for signs of the shortgrass prairie that once stretched from horizon to horizon, defining the High Plains.

Spring is springing in my garden thanks to the huge dose of moisture from that pre-Earth Day snow, and there's change ahead for me as well.

Uintah penstemon blooming today in my rock garden. Uinta penstemon blooming today in my rock garden, offering its nectar and pollen to native bees.

What's up?

For all of us, becoming indigenous to a place means living as if your children’s future mattered, to take care of the land as if our lives, both material and spiritual, depended on it.

Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants

I live in a small house by choice. I like compact spaces and I like living simply. I also want to be comfortable, efficient with energy and materials, and happy in my space. And after living for almost 29 years with a sculptor who could and did design and build anything, I'm picky about details.

So even though my little house and its companion garage/studio were finished last year, I'm still completing a few projects. Today's was a combination of design and whimsy.

One of my New Year resolutions is to "live generously." Which to me means not just being generous with other humans, but doing my best to live in a way that is generous to "all my relations," as my Indian friends say, the multitudes of other beings with whom we share this glorious blue planet.

My front and side yard "wildscapes," mountain prairie restoration projects-in-progress. My front and side yard "wildscapes," mountain prairie restoration projects-in-progress.

I exhausted myself this weekend engaging in plant therapy. That's a good thing.

Calliope hummingbird perched in my own "hometown habitat." Calliope hummingbird perched in my own "hometown habitat."
The first wave of rain goes by.... The first wave of rain goes by....

At about five-thirty this evening, a thunderstorm "walked" slowly down the valley on "legs of lightning," as the Navajo say. Jagged flashes struck the hills above town. Thunder boomed.

A rainbow stretches over Salida and the Arkansas Hills at sunset after a late-summer shower. A rainbow stretches over Salida and the Arkansas Hills at sunset after a late-summer shower.

Last Tuesday afternoon, thunder rumbled ominously, cold gusts whipped up dust-dry soil, and the light went all storm-gray. I stood on the front deck watching streamers of rain approach and debated about whether or not to set out on my usual walk to the Post Office.

'Poncha Pass Red' sulfur-flower buckwheat (Eriogonum umbellatum 'Poncha Pass Red') 'Poncha Pass Red' sulfur-flower buckwheat (Eriogonum umbellatum 'Poncha Pass Red')
The wide-open San Luis Valley with the Sangre de Cristo Range on the left, on the road to Durango. The wide-open San Luis Valley with the Sangre de Cristo Range on the left.

I've been on the road teaching and speaking so much this spring that I sometimes forget what is next.

Part of the kitchen garden at Terraphilia in fall. Part of the kitchen garden at Terraphilia last fall.
Golden currant (Ribes auereum), a native shrub that blooms early, produces berries birds love, and turns orange to crimson and fall. Golden currant (Ribes aureum), an early blooming native shrub that produces berries birds love, and turns orange to crimson in fall.
The High Plains west of Pueblo with Pikes Peak under storm clouds in the background (that's true shortgrass prairie, buffalograss with a cholla "overstory"). The High Plains west of Pueblo with Pikes Peak under storm clouds in the background (that's true shortgrass prairie, buffalograss with a spa
Highway 285 across South Park in blowing snow. Highway 285 across South Park in blowing snow.
Richard on the Big Sur Coast, California Richard on the Big Sur Coast, California

You're working too much.

I was headed home after spending the morning in a contentious three-hour planning meeting for a local land management agency.

Sierra San Antonio marks the Colorado-New Mexico boundary. Sierra San Antonio, a prominent volcanic done, marks the Colorado-New Mexico boundary.